Good Queen Bess

IMG_3262For our most recent Mother-Daughter book club, our eldest member on the daughter side -a bona fide third-grader – chose nonfiction. Thankfully, rather than Who is Taylor Swift? or Who Was Elvis Presley? (though this one may have been interesting)…she chose Who Was Queen Elizabeth? At our house, I ended up doing a lot of the reading aloud to my second-grader. This is not light material. Aside from being shunned by her own father and imprisoned by her sister, her cousin plotted to have her killed. So, it felt somewhat comforting to be together while I relayed these very gruesome, though very real facts. I think a lot of it went over her head, of course, but the basic idea that Queen Elizabeth I overcame many obstacles to become a strong and prosperous ruler came across. And, I loved reading lines like these aloud:

“The young girl who had been shunned by her father had grown to become one of England’s greatest rulers. She had lived in a world where men were thought to be smarter, wiser, and better in all ways than women.” [Read more…]

Poetry for Young Readers

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Yes, I’ll admit it, I was among the few who fell prey to The Paris Review’s April Fool’s joke, in which they presented the debut issue “for young readers.” But there was so much to be excited about: an interview with Eric Carle, fiction for children by Marilynne Robinson, poetry by Charles Simic – how can you blame us? Why should we have to settle for Highlights? Even my six-year-old briefly glances at this “glossy” before tossing it aside like it’s US Weekly or Hello! magazine. It doesn’t seem right that there’s no monthly collection of literary work geared towards kids (that I know of at least). I was legitimately excited about this debut and then equally destroyed to realize how gullible I am. But the lingering yearning for such a periodical remains. As now that we’re in the midst of another National Poetry Month, I crave a collection of poetry that does not talk down to kids. [Read more…]